Friday, April 12

USMNT without urgency, Canada built for CONCACAF success in World Cup qualifying result 2-0

US head coach Gregg Berhalter said the US “dominated” the match against Canada, but after a 2-0 loss, many USMNTs will not share the same conclusion.

En route in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in a hostile environment thanks to a rowdy Ontario crowd and frigid temperatures, the United States fell to a lopsided defeat, beaten by a Canadian side happy to sit back and absorb the pressure before hit with rhythm and poison on the counter.

The Canadians played their style at home, and although defender Miles Robinson said that nothing the hosts did surprised the Americans, the United States always looked back.

MORE: Player ratings for USMNT in loss to Canada

While the Canadians proved to be CONCACAF class and were on the brink of World Cup qualification, the USMNT still has work to do to secure a spot. In fact, a top spot is almost certainly out of the question, and the US could even drift into third place if Mexico overtakes Costa Rica.

What we learned from Canada vs. USMNT

1. Problems with Christian Pulisic

Captain America has had problems in recent months at Chelsea, we all know that. Having to play in different positions and earning only sporadic minutes has clearly taken its toll, that was evident against El Salvador. But Pulisic is a very talented player, and fans hoped he would eventually find a groove.

MORE: What’s wrong with Christian Pulisic?

The opposite has happened. Pulisic had a frankly poor game against Canada, unable to produce anything electric in the open game or anything useful from set pieces. His corner kick to Weston McKennie’s head late in the first half was his only special moment of the game.

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If the alarm bells were not ringing after El Salvador, they are now. There are many theories about what mental, physical, tactical or other factors could be at play, but whatever the issue, it’s clear that Pulisic is pressing. With just one more match on Wednesday before the players return to their clubs to continue the season, Berhalter doesn’t have enough time to settle. what it’s bad What to fix the player. That’s in Pulisic. Berhalter’s immediate goal will be to find the best way to attack Honduras, and that might not include the Chelsea man.

2. Canada is extremely CONCACAF, but in a fun way

While the United States has been obsessed for years with becoming an international competitor that can constantly battle the powers that be in Europe, Canada has simply focused on embracing CONCACAF. It has worked perfectly.

Les Rouges are a perfect summary of how to succeed in the North American confederation, producing a winning combination of defensive prowess, counter magic, and a bit of messiness when needed. Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies take this cohesive unit to the next level with their world-class talent, but even without one or both, John Herdman has fostered a program built on unity and structure.

MORE: How Canada can qualify for the World Cup

While other inferior CONCACAF teams need to rely on a combination of fouls, yellow cards and other shenanigans and cunning, Canada has quality and enough pace and style to justify their undefeated first place in the table.

Who knows if it will work to the next level when the Canadians arrive in Qatar, but in the Octagonal he has been literally unbeatable.

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3. USMNT lacked urgency and advantage

Head coach Gregg Berhalter spoke openly about the lack of connectivity in his post-match press conference following the 1-0 win over El Salvador just days earlier.

“I wouldn’t say this was our best game,” Berhalter said of that win over the Cuscatlecos. “I think the ambition to play forward and stay behind [El Salvador] He was absent for the 90 minutes. We had it in spades, but I think it could have been better.” Berhalter later continued, “I didn’t think our press was as connected as it needed to be, and you could see we were apart for a while.” Meanwhile, most of the group .”

Those same themes arose against Canada, and while El Salvador’s match could be explained as a strong performance without a finishing touch, against Canada, the United States produced just 0.87 expected goals. Very few chances were created, with only Weston McKennie’s header near the end of the first half testing Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan. The Canadians intimidated the US, putting the blame on a referee who was letting teams play.

In his role as an analyst for CBS’s Paramount+, USMNT legend Clint Dempsey hammered America at halftime for having a lack of urgency in the first half, and didn’t improve at all in the second half. But it’s not just this game that has lacked the venom of the USMNT, as the El Salvador match showed.

Obviously, there is an ongoing deficiency in chemistry and urgency that needs to be corrected, and whether that comes from personnel decisions, a tactical reconfiguration or a new approach to coaching, something clearly has to change.

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